Re-Members Only

Sylk 130

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Re-Members Only Review

by Dan LeRoy

On his debut album as Sylk 130, When the Funk Hits the Fan, Philadelphia DJ/producer King Britt explored the soul and disco sounds of his '70s youth. Part two of Britt's planned musical trilogy, Re-Members Only, moved the timeline ahead ten years, as he and stalwart bassist Phillip Charles surrounded themselves with an all-star lineup of musicians from the Me Decade. The guests reflect Britt's eclectic taste -- everyone from Brit soul pinup Martin Fry of ABC to rappers De La Soul to the late jazz great Grover Washington, Jr. shows up on the disc -- and the album reflects his genuine love for each style of music, as well as a DJ's knowledge that what worked on a dancefloor 20 years ago might need some tweaking today. Most tracks attempt to fuse trademark '80s sounds, especially vintage drum machines and synths, with more modern grooves -- an effort that pays off handsomely on tracks like "One and Only" (featuring Fry) and "Rising," which has Kathy Sledge (of Sister Sledge) voicing the disc's most memorable melody. Britt also shows he has an ear for atmosphere on the lovely "Skipping Stones," an R&B showcase for singer Alison Moyet, and "Incident on a Couch, Pt. 2," seven-and-a-half minutes of afterhours bliss. And, perhaps surprisingly for a guy who elsewhere extols "The Beauty of Machines," Britt turns in a cover of the often-sampled Nu Shoooz hit "I Can't Wait" and makes it swing with live instrumentation. Amidst all the sleek club cuts, the hip-hop portion of the program seems a bit out of place, although "Cobbs Creek" is an MC battle that should bring a smile to the face of any old-school fan. Britt has called Re-Members Only the album he always wanted to buy in high school; it's a tribute to his own abilities, and those of his collaborators, that high-school students two decades later might be able to say the same.

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